DALLAS -- Ron Artest scored seven points during a 16-2 run late in the fourth quarter that sent the Houston Rockets to a 112-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night. But that's not the only way he ingratiated himself to new teammate Yao Ming.
During the spurt, Yao caught an elbow from Dallas' Josh Howard. When the two started to go face-to-face, Artest ran in between them.
Officials weren't happy to see Artest and blew the whistle. After huddling, they hit Artest with a technical foul that was probably more for his reputation than for the act itself.
"It happens," Artest said. "No punches thrown, no cursing at the referees. It was a part of the game type of thing. Somebody threw an elbow at Yao and I just reacted. It's nothing to get upset about, nothing to hold a grudge about."
Yao finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Artest scored 29 as the Rockets won their second game in as many nights.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 36 points for Dallas and Howard added 28 points and 11 rebounds, but they combined for only three points in the fourth quarter.